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Eastern Aubergine and Tahini Purée (Baba Ghanoush)

Babaganooge, Babaganous, Baba ghannouj: there are as many ways to spell the name of this dish as there are countries that claim its ownership! Commonly we assign origin to where we met something first; but no matter where it is from this dip doesn't cease to be an incredibly aromatic and tasteful dip of arab origin that can accomany an aperitif or become part  of a mediterranean table of delicacies!

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Ingredients:

2 medium aubergines
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon

125 ml/ 4 fl oz tahini (sesame paste)

salt

Optional: 1-2 tsp sweet cumin
                 1/2 cup yogurt
Garnish:
olive oil
chopped fresh parsley
pita bread cut into wedges, savoury crackers or toasted bread

Procedure:

1. Leave the stems on the aubergines, pierce them in various places to avoid explosion, and roast over glowing coals on a barbecue until soft, for about 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, cook on the middle shelf of an oven preheated to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6, turning occasionally.

2. When the skin is charred  all over and when touched the inside easily gives in, our aubergines are ready!

3. Peel off the skin while hot, and remove the stems. Chop the flesh roughly, place in a colander and give some firm shakes to remove the excess moisture.

4. Using a food processor, process to a coarse puree with the garlic . Add the lemon juice and the tahini and process to a thick puree. Add salt to taste and more lemon juice if necessary.

5. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until required.

6. To serve, place the purée in a shallow bowl, swirling it with the back of spoon. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with parsley.

* You can use this to dip kebabs in or just simply serve with bread.